“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.” – Isaiah 61:1-4
This prophecy was fulfilled in Luke 4:14-21, when Jesus walked into the synagogue, opened the book of Isaiah, read out the prophecy and declared, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Today many of us have come or are coming into the liberty and restoration that has been made available in Jesus Christ. Today the scripture, which was fulfilled in Him, is being manifested in our lives. Women are rising up and shining in His Light. Hallelujah!
A careful look at Isaiah’s prophecy, however, reveals more than we care to acknowledge. The prophecy seems to be in two parts, and does not only concern Christ, but also, those whose lives have been impacted and transformed by Him.
Praise God, Jesus Christ fulfilled His part! Right from the moment He read those words in the synagogue, to the minute He died on the Cross and rose from the dead, until the day He ascended back to heaven, Jesus committed His life to fulfilling His part. Through His compressive work, we have been set free and are being restored. Indeed, a new day has dawned upon us!
However, Isaiah also predicted a particular response from us, which can be found in the latter part of verse 3 and verse 4.
“…That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.”
Our automatic response to the freedom and restoration we receive in Christ, therefore, must be:
1. To grow in stature and mature as trees (oaks) of righteousness, planted and nurtured by the Lord through His Word and Spirit. This will bring glory to God.
2. To rise up and build and rebuild the ruins, desolations and devastation around us.
Unfortunately, many of us are not doing our part yet; many are not even aware of this. We are neither growing nor rising up to build. Actually, this is one of the reason why many women are frustrated, bored, and feel like they are on a treadmill going nowhere, or in a vicious cycle, experiencing fear, low self esteem, depression, etc, over and over again.
The Need To Arise And Build
God is requiring of us to grow in the fullness and stature attained for us by Christ Jesus, as oaks of righteousness. (Ephesians 4:13-14) God is requiring of us to rise up and work, to build and rebuild. This is not a suggestion, it must be the automatic response to our restoration. When Peter’s mother-in-law was healed by Jesus, the scripture says, she rose up immediately to serve them (Luke 4:38-39). God requires us to arise and build
The Ancient Ruins
Spiritually, the United Kingdom (a nation of nations) is in ruins.
First of all, the souls of men lie in ruins as man rejects God, walks in rebellion, rejects God’s word and rule. As it was in the Garden of Eden, man continues to seek independence from God and self- governance. And as it was in the Book of Judges, “everyone does what is right in his on eyes.”
Needless to say, an unholy and rebellious soul is like a city that is broken down, and has no walls, like a house in ruins. Such is the state of many in this nation
Secondly, the spiritual heritage of the fathers of this land lies in waste and ruin. The fathers fought and worked hard to establish Christianity and build the kingdom of God in this nation, as described concerning England in William Blake’s poem, Jerusalem,
Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green and pleasant Land
Unfortunately, we have abandoned and forgotten the God who made Britain great. Everything has been affected – church, government, the laws of the land, marriage and family, education, economy and commerce, etc. Not only have we abandoned and neglected what the Fathers built and achieved, sadly, we have removed or lowered many of the standards they set for us to continue to build by!
Oh, this nation knows well how to preserve the heritage of past generations! The many listed buildings all over the country, museums, etc, prove that we are well able to preserve the past. So, why have we abandoned the Christian heritage and left the souls of men, families and homes in ruin?
…Churches for sale (always to the highest bidder, irrespective of their faith) …Prayer and bible reading out of our schools …Sunday trading …Redefining marriage …just to name a few! Many “ancient landmarks” have been removed and our children have very few or none left to lead them back home to the ways of God.
Sin has done much damage to the spiritual, moral and social fibre of the nation. Immorality, sexual perversions, idolatry, witchcraft, drunkenness and debauchery are now commonly practised and accepted. People live solely to gratify the flesh – greediness, selfishness, wickedness and godlessness. Indeed, we have become a godless nation. The result is that many are lost and live without hope. We have broken homes and families, which undermines the very foundation of our society. Many live in fear, depression, dejection, brokenness and hopelessness. People are turning to alcohol, drugs and all kinds of ‘spiritual’ meditations, looking for a cure or some sense of meaning to life. Yes, the ruins, desolations and devastations are right before our eyes; they live in our homes, on our streets, we work with them, we meet them everyday…!
The Lord’s Comfort
Despite the current situation, God has every intention of fulfilling His promises to the fathers of the land. God wants to repair and rebuild the people and nation. This is why God wants us to arise, pray and work. This is why the Church must rise up, pray and work, like Nehemiah did.
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” – Isaiah 40:3-5
God speaks comfort to us today and brings us hope. The Lord assures us that His glory will be revealed again in the lives of the people and nation. His glory will be revealed again in our marriages, homes, families; in our schools, work places and communities; in government, legislature; in economics, media and arts; in our villages, towns, cities and nations – “and all flesh shall see it together!”
Jesus Christ, the Glory of God, shall be seen in this land again
However, we, the Church, have a part to play, and God is particularly calling on us women to rise up for this venture. (Ref: Isaiah 32)
Build Up A Highway
What is required of us? What does God require us to build, and how? God wants us to prepare a way for Jesus Christ in the lives of people and in the land. We are to build in this spiritual desert, a highway for our Lord. (Isaiah 40:3-4). However, to build this highway, we must:
1. Fill and exalt the valleys – deal with the things(mindsets) that overwhelm people and bring them down, causing and preventing them from seeing God, e.g. doubt, unbelief, ignorance, fear, hopelessness, depression, etc.
2. Level the mountains – deal with the things (mindsets) that are elevated above God in the lives of people and causes them to think they do not need Him, e.g. pride, arrogance, self, flesh, money, worldliness, power, love of riches, etc. We must contend with ideologies, philosophies and arguments that work against the knowledge of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-6).10:4-6).
3. Straighten the crooked – deal with the ways of people which are contrary to the scriptures (Word of God), and therefore, crooked.
4. Make the rough smooth – a continuous restoration bringing all things into perfection as transformation takes place on all levels.
This must first be done in our own lives and in the Church, before we can go on and to do so in others. We need the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in our lives to be able to do this. However, we have an assurance, hope and expectation that as we build this ‘highway,’ the glory of God, Jesus Christ, will be revealed and all the people will see Him.
Go Through The Gate
Isaiah 62:10 also instructs us to, “Go through, go through the gates! prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples!”
The gates represents all the areas of influence in the lives of people. We must particularly deal with the gates of culture, which include language, marriage and family, education, socio-economics, government, law and order, religion, and arts and media. We must lift Jesus high, as a banner, in all these areas.
What Can You Do Practically?
“And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and the violent take it by force.” – Matthew 11:12 (AMP)
1. Pray and ask God to show you what He wants you to do.
2. Pray for a personal revival – ask for a fresh revelation of Jesus through the Holy Spirit and the scriptures. Begin to read and live the scriptures, growing in maturity. Live as a Christian and let your life be a testimony and witness to Jesus
3. Pray for revival in the church – a fresh out-pouring of the Holy Spirit to bring a fresh revelation of Jesus Christ through His word. Pray for the Church leadership, for unity, boldness and the power of God to stand for Jesus Christ and declare Him, and to teach others to live like Him. (Acts 4:23-31)
4. Pray and intercede for the people of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland (both Northern and Republic). Ask God to show mercy and visit this land again and cause us to return to His word.
5. Take responsibility for your family, work colleagues, people who live on your street and in your your community and begin to pray for them. Speak to them about Jesus when you have the opportunity.
6. Begin to do spiritual warfare. Walk the streets, praying and claiming back the people and the land to Jesus. God has promised that wherever the soles of our feet shall tread, we shall possess. Pray against the mindsets and everything that works against the knowledge of God.
7. Begin to share the full gospel of Jesus Christ. Lead as many as believe to Christ and disciple them when they come to the Lord.
8. Take responsibility for the political, economic and social climates of our cities and nation, and intercede for righteousness to prevail. Also, take action through letters, emails, etc to Members of Parliament, etc, as led by the Holy Spirit.
9. Pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in this nation as it is in heaven!” Pray for righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17). Pray and intercede for those in government and in authority on all levels.
10. Take responsibility for the next generation, praying for them, reaching out to them, and instilling in then the fear of God and the standard of His word.
11. Show and share the love of God in Christ Jesus through acts of kindness and mercy. You may set up a ministry for this like Dorcas and others did in the bible.
12. You may join QUIVER and form or join a group. You can find out more about QUIVER at http://www.quiverprayermovement.org/
…Finally, pray and do whatever the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
God has already equipped us for service, and even now is equipping us. He has restored us and even now is restoring us. He is changing our garments and giving us the tools and offices to enable us to work. (Zechariah 3)
1. We have an identity and position in Christ – we’ve been made sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ Jesus. (John 1:12-13; Rom 8:14-17; Gal 3:26-29)
2. We have the Holy Spirit in us, to empower and enable, lead and guide us. (Acts 1:8)
3. We have access to God through prayer and can boldly enter to find grace to help at this crucial time. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
4. The Lord is restoring the five-fold ministry to equip the Church to do the work of ministry – (Ephesians 4:11-13)
5. God is stirring up and restoring the Gifts of the Spirit in us. – Word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discernment of spirits, faith, working of miracles, healings, tongues and interpretation of tongues, prophecy. (1 Corinthians 12)
6. The Lord is calling and releasing to us diverse gifts of service. (Romans 12:6-8)
7. We have been given the whole armour of God and spiritual weapons with which to contend with. We have the Word of God, the Blood of Jesus, the Name of Jesus, etc. (Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:4-6)
8. We have innumerable angels assigned to minister to/with us. (Hebrews 1:14)
9. Above all, we have God on our side!
Finally, God’s promise, as we arise and build, is sure
“…You will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: “Here am I.” If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” – Isaiah 58:9-12
May He grant us the grace, strength, tenacity, focus, power and all the resources we need to arise and build! In Jesus’ Name! Amen!
By Apostle Jennifer Abigail Wallace
This was the message I shared at Women In Tune UK’s Women on the Frontline 2013 Conference on Saturday 9 March 2013. Theme: ARISE AND BUILD! Even though the message was to women in the UK, it is still relevant to women in every nation. So, woman arise and build!